|But what if you
Dynamic Learning, also make many first-rate suggestions for
teaching those who find spelling difficult. In particular, they recommend using
"visual imagination" in tackling tough words: visualizing each word so that the
difficult letter-combinations stand out, either by making them bigger, brighter or a
different color (see hints, page 376).
Back writing for mirror writing problems
For school-age children who continue to have problems
distinguishing letters such as b and d, and p and q, British
educators Peter Young and Colin Tyre, in their excellent book, Teach Your Child To Read,
recommend "back writing". The principles are simple: place a large sheet of
paper on a wall at your child's eye-level; with the child facing the poster, you use your
index finger to "print" the letter b on his back, repeating something like,
"B says buh; first down for the bat and round for the ball;" and get him to
write the letter on the poster, using a thick felt pen and repeating your wording. Teach
only one letter at a time.
Young and Tyre say that "over very many years we
have not known this to fail".
Running fingers over the shape of Montessori sandpaper
letters also helps children distinguish "similar but opposite" letters. Sets of
stippled plastic letters are now available.
New Zealand breakthroughs
Other breakthroughs are often blends or developments of techniques covered in
our True Learning chapter.
New Zealand's catch-up
programs, for instance, have become so successful that groups of American and Swedish
teachers now fly across the Pacific regularly to see how they work. New Zealand teachers
are amazed to find that many American elementary schools still shuffle children around to
several different teachers during a day: a reading teacher, for example, and a music
American visitors "down under" are
impressed by what they call whole-language teaching. But that term is too restrictive.
Whole life may well be better. The whole structure is based around the principle that
students come first.
New Zealand has "a national curriculum" but
that paints only in broad strokes the educational philosophy and teaching goals.
Contents Page Preface